Should Customer Success Managers be product experts?

July 20, 2016 Trisha Armeña

Customer Success Product Expert

SaaS Tattler Issue 89 - Should Customer Success Managers be product experts?

When taking a look at how we interact with other business functions, it seems as if the first thing on everyone’s mind is always -- *unnecessary drumroll* -- Sales. The reality is, people aren’t talking enough about the other elephant in the room, the dynamic between Customer Success and Product. Have you ever wondered, “Should CSMs also be product experts?” That of which, might spark a second question: “How can we work with the Product team more effectively, to drive greater growth for the organization as a whole?” In this issue of the SaaS Tattler, we’ll be investigating just how much product knowledge a CSM should acquire, as well as exploring the overall relationship between Customer Success and Product even further.

Customer Success is Product Management

Hosted by Mike Fishbein, this podcast features Stephen O’Keefe, Hubspot’s Director of Customer Success Management, who explains how and why Customer Success aligns very closely with Product Management. Highlights of this episode include where in the product lifecycle Customer Success is most critical, and how Product Managers and CSMs should collaborate to be most efficient.

Align your product with your customer’s goals.

The Secret to Customer Success is in Product Success

Most Customer Success organizations are focused on churn, upsell, and renewal. However, at the heart of all these issues is making sure that customers are getting value out of the software they have purchased. In this article, Rahul Jain reveals that if the product is driving value for the customer, you decrease your risk of churn and increase the likelihood of upsell opportunities. But how should a Customer Success organization define and measure product success and engagement?

Working with customers to drive the most value out of the product builds customers for life.

The Pyramid of Customer Success

In this blog post, Nello Franco says it best: Customer Success starts with your product. It serves as the very foundation of the CS pyramid, and thus, striving to know your product inside-out would certainly boost your performance as a CSM. Product alone, CSMs alone; none of these layers by themselves can make customers successful. Customer Success needs to think about the customer experience in the context of all layers.

Customer Success starts with your product.

5 Proven Ways Product Managers Empower Customer Success Teams

Although this feature is primarily geared towards PMs themselves, there is just as much value in here for Customer Success Managers. In this article by Prabhakar Gopalan, CSMs will learn which points of the customer journey are best to collaborate on with the Product team, as well as how they can learn more about the product from PMs themselves. 

Product Management and Customer Success have emerged as the new Sales and Support teams.

Best of Customer Success Today

Bringing ACV, complexity, and volume together will help you identify triggers to hire more CSMs. A best practice is to have each of the three factors defined clearly in your organization. Scaling Your Customer Success Team: Why ACV, Product Complexity, & Volume Matter

Companies are no longer just exploring the idea of Customer Success, they are now making big investments and wrestling with the challenges of managing and nurturing Customer Success teams. Hiring, Developing, and Retaining your Customer Success Team

Lead your organization (and your customers) down a more fruitful path to value, growth, and retention. How to Build Customer Success Into Your Startup’s DNA

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About the Author

Trisha Armeña

Trisha is a Digital Marketing Intern at Amity, who will begin to pursue her HBA degree in the fall. She is passionate about creative design, social media, and technology, and is completely obsessed with avocados.

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